Best acoustic guitar for beginners

acoustic guitar for beginners

When starting out on your musical journey, finding the best acoustic guitars for beginners can be tough.

This is due to the wide range of guitars available on the market, whether it’s steel strings, dreadnoughts or classicals the sheer amount of information is confusing, to say the least. As a beginner, even just starting guitar playing is enough of a challenge.

To help you find the right acoustic guitar for you, we’ve reviewed and analysed what we think the best acoustic guitar for beginners is and have also added in some helpful tips and tricks along the way to help you with your first guitar purchase.

Best Acoustic Guitar For Beginners

Taylor GS Mini Rosewood


One of the best acoustic guitars that you can buy is a Taylor. The company itself was established in 1974 by Bob Taylor and Kurt Listug, Taylor has provided the best acoustic guitars for some of the world’s most famous artists including Jason Mraz, Tori Kelly and Shawn Mendes.

Made in the USA and Mexico, Taylor use high-quality woods and excellent craftsmanship skills to produce their instruments.

One of Taylor’s most popular models is the ‘GS Mini’, its small body shape, low string height and sweet tones are great for first-time guitar players.

The Taylor GS Mini is arguably on the more expensive side for beginner acoustic guitarists, however, you cannot deny its quality.

The GS mini features a solid Sitka spruce top, layered rosewood back and sides, nubone nut and an ebony fretboard. These are excellent specifications for an acoustic guitar of this nature and as a result of this, allow this instrument to have a bright tone that sings beautifully.

In addition to this, the scale length is much smaller than a standard dreadnought. Coming in at 23 1/2 inches, this makes it extremely comfortable and is perfect for women, teenagers or adults with small hands.

What makes this one of best acoustic guitar for beginners is its matte-finished slim neck and low action. As a beginner, playing chord shapes is hard enough, so the extra quality here makes all the difference for a beginner.

One aspect that we really like about the GS mini is that it comes in a variety of different woods, although this might not be high on your priority list as a beginner, it does mean that you at least have the option of picking out your preferred colour.

Compared to other guitars on this list, it might seem like an expensive purchase for a beginner. However, we believe that the Taylor GS mini is one of the best acoustic guitars for beginners.

Pros

  • Small and extremely comfortable to play, therefore making it a fantastic beginner acoustic guitar.
  • Available in a variety of tonewoods such as solid spruce, solid mahogany or koa.
  • Comes with a Taylor guitar case that is excellent quality.
  • Despite it being a small guitar, it has an extremely well-balanced sound.

Cons

  • A expensive guitar for a beginner.
  • The smaller body size won’t suit all people.

Best Acoustic-Electric Guitar For Beginners

Epiphone Hummingbird Studio Acoustic-Electric Guitar


Epiphone is one of the most popular budget brands on the guitar market. Famous for the relationship with Gibson, Epiphone produces a number of guitars that are influenced by one of the greatest guitar companies of all time.

However, although they make more affordable versions of their Gibson counterparts, this does not make their guitars any less valuable.

Many famous artists such as Oasis, Joe Bonamassa and The Strokes have been known to use Epiphone guitars for live performances and recordings.

One of Epiphone’s best acoustic guitars for beginners is the Hummingbird Pro.

The ‘hummingbird’ is one of Gibson’s best acoustic guitars, so it’s no surprise that Epiphone has several popular models within its product range. The model we’re going to focus on is the ‘Studio’ model, this shouldn’t be confused with Epiphone’s inspired by series, which is much more expensive.

The Epiphone Hummingbird Studio comes with a solid spruce top, mahogany neck, body and back and sides and a Pau Ferro fretboard. These woods are of excellent quality and as a result of this, the guitar produces a great sound that any beginner or professional would be happy with.

The guitar itself looks visually impressive, its expressive inlays, stunning pickguard and gold hardware. This makes the instrument pleasing to look at and instantly inspires you to pick it up.

What makes this beginner acoustic guitar stand out from the rest is its addition to Fishman’s high-quality Electronics. The ‘Sonicore’ is a fantastic pickup system that allows the natural sound quality to be represented fantastically acoustically or plugged in.

One issue that some users have complained about is that the strings are too heavy and can make playing barre chords difficult. Out of the box, the guitar comes with 12-53 gauge strings. These are very heavy strings. However, the good news is that you can easily replace them with a string set that you’re more comfortable with. If you’re still not happy, you can get the guitar set up by a luthier.

This may seem like a lot of work, however when looking at instruments in this price range, sadly, setup and playability are often ignored by products made in the far east.

Although this instrument may be too big for some people, you cannot deny the Epiphone Hummingbirds build quality and class, therefore making it the best dreadnought acoustic-electric guitar on the market today and overall, one of the best acoustic guitars for beginners.

Pros

  • The Fishman sonitone preamp system is of extremely high quality and wouldn’t look out of place on the biggest stages.
  • The dreadnought body allows for an improved tone that is deep and resonant.
  • Perfect for the guitarist who wants a Gibson-style guitar, without the heavy price tag.
  • The 18:1 ratio tuners ensure that you never have to worry about tuning issues.

Cons

  • No left-handed model.
  • No battery is included with the pickup system.

Best Nylon String Guitar For Beginners

Yamaha C40II


Yamaha are one of the music world’s biggest brands. Manufacturing some of the best acoustic guitars, electric guitars, brass and woodwind instruments, Yamaha are a force of nature when it comes to producing musical instruments.

One of the best things about Yamaha is that they offer instrumentsat every price range, from $100 to $1000. However, they always meet a high-quality standard regardless of this.

If you’re looking for one of the best beginner acoustic guitars, then look no further, the Yamaha C40 II is a great choice.

The Yamaha C40II is one of the best beginner acoustic guitars available on the market. Although it may seem like an entry-level guitar, this instrument boasts fantastic craftsmanship and build quality.

Starting with the acoustic guitar specifications, the Yamaha C40II features a Spruce top, Meranti back and sides, rosewood fingerboard and bridge. The guitar’s body comes in a gloss finish which looks elegant, classy and feels smooth to touch.

This particular model is a full-size model, however, if you find this acoustic too big, Yamaha also offers a 3/4 acoustic guitar size that is more suitable for children under the age of 11.

In terms of playability, the nylon strings on this beginner guitar feel pleasant under the fingers. Although not pain-free, this type of string will feel much easier to play than a steel string. In addition to this, the two-inch nut width provides you with extra spacing between each string, meaning that playing clear, precise chords can be achieved more easily.

Our only criticism of this instrument is that some users have complained about the overall height of the strings. From what we can tell, this is only really noticeable on the upper frets. As a beginner guitar player, you probably won’t go above fret 5 anyway, so this isn’t something to worry about.

Overall, the Yamaha C40II is one of the best acoustic guitars for beginners and could be exactly what you are looking for.

Pros

  • Extremely well priced and excellent value for money.
  • The spruce top and meranti woods provide the guitar with a lively bright tone.
  • The natural finish is aesthetically pleasing.
  • The body is extremely lightweight meaning it is easy and comfortable to play with.

Cons

  • The nut width is two inches which could be challenging for some younger players.
  • Only starter pack models come with a soft case.

Best Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar For Beginners

Fender CD-60S


Fender is one of the best musical brands on the planet. Most famous for their electric guitars, the Stratocaster and telecaster, Fender also makes fantastic acoustic guitars.

Some of Fender’s most famous acoustic artists include Ray Davies, Buddy Miller and even Billie Eilish has her own signature ukulele with the company.

One of the companies best acoustic guitars for beginners is the Fender CD-60S.

The Fender CD-60S is one of the best acoustic guitars for beginners. The guitar itself boasts fantastic value for money and build quality.

This particular model features laminated mahogany back and sides, a solid mahogany acoustic guitar body, mahogany neck and a walnut fingerboard. These are excellent quality tonewoods that wouldn’t look out of place on an instrument twice its price. The mahogany featured woods give the guitar a distinctive warm tone that is pleasing to the ear.

One of the main issues with acoustic guitars for beginners is thsharp fret ends. If caught in the wrong place this can cause a nasty injury to your hands. However, Fender has solved this by using rolled fingerboard edges.  This attention to detail makes it stand out from the rest of the crowd and ultimately result in one of the best acoustic guitars for beginners.

The Fender CD-60s features a low action and is well intonated, putting a stop to the bad reputation that some budget guitars have succumbed to over the past decade.

In addition, the wood grain of the guitar is visually attractive and the sound hole is decorated with a CD series Pearloid rosette that is a joy to look at. Furthermore, the 1 ply pickguard ensures that your guitar’s body can be protected. This is particularly important for beginners who can sometimes be a little enthusiastic with a plectrum.

As beginner guitars go, the Fender CD-60s is one of the best affordable acoustic guitars on the market and is worth considering if you’re in the market for your first instrument.

Pros

  • The neck is extremely comfortable to play with due to its rolled fingerboard edges.
  • Increased playability, sound quality and project due to the dreadnought body, mahogany top and scalloped X bracing.
  • The instrument is well intonated and setup out of the box.
  • Offers excellent value for money.

Cons

  • The high gloss finish isn’t for everyone.

Best Budget Acoustic Guitar For Beginners

Ibanez 6 String PC12MHOPN Grand Concert Acoustic Guitar


Although Gibson and Fender will always be considered the big two guitar brands, Ibanez is always a close third. Most famous for their association with metal players such as Steve Vai, Joe Satriani and Slipknot, what most people don’t realise is that they also produce some fantastic acoustic guitars for beginners.

One of their best acoustic guitars is the PC12MHOPN Grand Concert.

One of the best acoustic guitars for beginners is the Ibanez PC12MH. The guitar itself makes an excellent starter guitar due to its relatively small size, excellent quality woods such as rosewood and mahogany and open pore finish that allows the instrument to breathe and resonate freely.

When first playing guitar, one of the main difficulties that you’ll find is that the guitar is simply too big. Dreadnought and Jumbo guitars have a huge sound but can be notoriously difficult to play. One way around this issue is by using a smaller body shape like a concert or auditorium.

This allows beginners to find their way around the fretboard in a more manageable way and in addition, it is much lighter and easier to transport, making these types of acoustic guitars the perfect travel companion.

Out of the box, this guitar is set up relatively well and is easy to play. Although the bridge and nut are made out of bone, this doesn’t affect the sound at all. As well, if this bothered you, you could always get these aspects upgraded.

As this is a smaller bodied guitar, the low end is nowhere as present as a dreadnought acoustic. However, the main advantage of this is that you are presented with warm middle and high-end frequencies that are able to easily cut through the mix.

In terms of fit and finish, there is no binding on the edges of the guitar and some users have complained about sharp fret edges. However, at this price range, this is perfectly normal and can easily be touched up at a local guitar center or guitar store.

Overall, we feel that this is one of the best acoustic guitars for beginners and is well worth checking out if you are embarking on your guitar journey for the first time.

Pros

  • The grand concert body is extremely comfortable and enhances the instruments playability.
  • The mahogany top, back and sides and neck allow this beginner acoustic guitar to have a warm, full natural tone that is perfect for a range of acoustic styles.
  • The guitar is excellent value for money.
  • The woods on this instrument look and sound excellent.

Cons

  • The smaller body might not work for everyone.
  • Doesn’t sound as full as a dreadnought guitar.

Best Acoustic For Kids

Cordoba Mini II M


Cordoba is one of the best classical guitar companies around. Cordoba make instruments that look and sound exquisite and are also extremely comfortable to play.

Their smallest and most affordable model is the Cordoba Mini II. One of the best beginner guitars in its price range.

The Cordoba mini II is one of the best acoustic guitars for beginners. Although it’s extremely small, it’s clear that Cordoba has worked incredibly hard to ensure that these acoustic guitars are working instruments and not just a toy.

Firstly, let’s discuss the scale length. Standard classical guitars have a scale of 25.6″ (650mm), the scale of this instrument is much smaller and comes in at 22.9″ (580mm). Usually, acoustic guitars with smaller scale lengths can result in them sounding thin and lacklustre. However, the addition of a deeper body, wider neck and a classical bridge allows this instrument to have a warm sound that is deep and satisfying.

In addition to this, the addition of a laminate flamed mahogany top back and sides ensure that this guitar has a look that is exotic as well as a sound that is mellow, soft and well balanced.

Furthermore, the small body size ensures that the guitar is lightweight (1kg) and the C shape neck, Pau Ferro fingerboard and 48mm nut width make this cute axe extremely playable.

Our main criticism of this instrument is that it doesn’t come with a case and some users have complained about sharp fret ends. However, this is quite common on all the guitars in this price.

Overall, we believe that this is one of the best beginner acoustic guitars and is worth checking out if you want a good guitar at a great price.

Pros

  • Stunning flamed mahogany finish.
  • Perfect for young children who are just getting started due to the minuscule body size of this instrument and the addition of nylon strings.
  • The neck is slim and extremely comfortable under the hands.
  • Satin finish and deep body allow more depth and presence compared to previous models.

Cons

  • No case and due to its small size may be difficult to find one that is suitable.
  • Adults may find this style of guitar difficult to play.

Best Acoustic Under $500

Taylor BT2


Although Taylor guitars mainly have products that are in the $1000+ range, one of their best acoustic guitars is the Taylor BT2.

Initially, this guitar was designed as a travel guitar. However, with artists such as Ed Sheeran popularising smaller acoustic guitars this type of acoustic have become much more popular across the guitar market.

In our opinion, this is one of the best acoustic guitars for beginners out there, and best of all, it’s under $500.

When searching for the best beginner acoustic guitar, it’s hard to ignore the Taylor BT2. Its petite size makes it one of the best acoustic guitars for beginners, however, it also wouldn’t look out of place on a professional guitarists rack.

What makes the guitar stand out from the crowded market of acoustic guitars is firstly its size. The BT2 has a reduced scale of 22 and 3/4″, combined with the smaller nut width, this can take a little bit of getting used to. However, with some time on the instrument this is soon forgotten about and you’ll be rocking in no time.

The BT2 has a rich choice of woods available. The guitar itself comes with either a laminate mahogany top or Sitka spruce top. Both body woods are great, they just have slightly different tonal characteristics. Mahogany being darker sound, Sitka being slightly brighter. In addition to this, the guitars fretboard is made out of an attractive west African crelicam ebony that only enhances the overall tone of these acoustic guitars.

Naturally, a smaller bodied size guitar can also produce so much volume and bass. However, we feel that the BT2’s sound works perfectly well for light strumming and fingerpicking. Its rich tone is at home in the hands of a beginner or a professional, and overall it is just a sweet-sounding instrument.

As well, unlike its competitors, the BT2 comes with a lovely gig bag that is perfect for transporting your guitar gear from home to your desired destination. As well, it comes with plenty of pocket space which allows you to store items such as capos, books, spare strings and a strap. As well, the bag has lots of padding, enabling your previous beginner acoustic to have plenty of protection.

Our main criticism of the BT2 is that you have to splash a little extra cash to get an electro-acoustic model. However, the construction, playability and sheer convenience of an instrument of this size is hard to ignore. In our opinion, the pros definitely outweigh the cons.

The bottom line is this, if you want a beginner acoustic guitar that is going to inspire you to play and stay with you through your guitar journey like an old friend, the BT2 is worth considering.

Pros

  • The short scale length increased playability and makes this the perfect guitar for travelling musicians or kids.
  • Available with a solid spruce top or with mahogany woods.
  • Comes with an extremely well thought out gig bag.
  • With a brand like Taylor, you can be assured of the build quality and craftsmanship.

Cons

No pickup system, however, Taylor offers an acoustic with a pickup system for slightly more money.

Best Acoustic Guitar Starter Kit

Yamaha Gigmaker Deluxe


When learning an instrument for the first time, it’s no secret that you need some accessories to help you get started on your guitar journey.

The initial price of this can come as a shock to the system and often many parents or beginners don’t know what they need or why.

So, to help you, lots of companies now have ‘starter kits’ available. These kits have everything you need to get started on your guitar journey. One of our favourite in this category is the Yamaha Gigmaker Deluxe.

 

If you’re new to the guitar market, going with a starter pack is often a fantastic choice. You get excellent value for money with getting an instrument as well as all the accessories needed to make the perfect start to your guitar journey. One of our favourites is the Yamaha Gigmaker.

The Yamaha Gigmaker Deluxe comes complete with a solid Sitka spruce top, meranti back and sides, nato neck and a rosewood fingerboard and bridge. The addition of a solid top is a welcome addition and significantly improves the overall quality of the instrument.

Out of the box, this beginner acoustic guitar is extremely well set up. Boasting a reasonable action, a bass end that is warm and deep and a gloss finish that feels extremely comfortable. Yamaha is known for making excellent quality instruments, and these are some of the best acoustic guitars in this price range. However, we would recommend giving this guitar a new of set strings and a setup for ultimate playability.

One bonus of this beginner acoustic is that it comes with a tuner, case, strings, strap as well other accessories. This is great when you first start playing as you don’t have to worry about what accessories you need as Yamaha have kindly provided them for you.

Our main criticism of this guitar is that the bridge and nut are made of plastic which can have a negative effect on the tone. However, this isn’t a deal-breaker as a beginner and can certainly be lived with.

At this price, the Yamaha gigmaker deluxe is excellent value for money and is easily the best beginner acoustic guitar on the market. So, if you’ve always dreamed of playing the guitar but never plucked up the courage to bite the bullet and purchase one, you can’t go far wrong with this beginner acoustic guitar.

Pros

  • The starter kit includes a digital tuner, soft case, strap and guitar picks.
  • The guitar features a solid spruce top and meranti back and sides.
  • Set up extremely well and is perfect as a beginner acoustic guitar.
  • Rosewood bridge and fretboard are nice features that improve the overall playability of the instrument.

Cons

  • Some users have experienced some quality control issues with this particular model.
  • If buying from Amazon avoid the ‘used’ or ‘cosmetic damage’ items as this will usually involve a guitar that is virtually unplayable.

Buying Guide

Purchasing your acoustic guitars for beginners can be a tricky experience. Not understanding the terminology and what makes up a great acoustic for beginners is tough. So, to help you out, we’ve put together this buying to ensure that you can master acoustic guitar purchase the first time.

Types of Acoustic Guitar

The main types of acoustic guitar are as follows:

  • Steel-string acoustic.

This is one of the most popular types of acoustic guitar and has been included on thousands of recordings throughout popular music. Notable users include John Mayer, Jack Johnson and Taylor Swift. This type of guitar has a bright, vibrant sound that works perfectly with fingerpicking or strumming styles.

  • Nylon-string acoustic.

Although normally associated with classical music, nylon-strung guitars have become increasingly popular amongst beginners. This is due to the strings being much lighter and the gap between each string being quite large. These are perfect starter instruments for children. If you want to hear this type of guitar in action, check out ‘Cavatina’ by John Williams, this is a very famous classical piece.

  • Electro-acoustics.

You can get electric acoustic versions of both nylon and steel-string acoustics. This is a way of amplifying the guitar instead of miking it up. If you’re a beginner, you’ll probably be staying away from stages for at least for first six months, but it’s worth mentioning if you’re serious about picking the instrument.

Acoustic Guitar Shapes

There are many types of acoustic guitar shapes available on the market today. Each shape provides guitarists with a different tone and feel.

We can split the main acoustic guitar shapes into the following categories:

  • Parlour/Travel guitars.
  • Dreadnought guitars.
  • Auditorium style guitars.
  • Reduced size guitars.

If you’ve read the above and thought, “hang on a minute, I’m sure there are more guitar shapes than that?”, you’d be right! We’ve just included the main ones as these are the best choices for beginners.

Parlour/Travel

Parlour and travel guitars are the smallest guitar in the acoustic world. The small body is fantastic for children, women or for people who have small hands.

Although their small size does result in a quieter sound, this type of guitar works fantastically for guitar techniques such as fingerpicking or light strumming.

Auditorium/Concert

The auditorium/concert body shape was popularised by companies such as Taylor. Although they have a large body, they are slightly smaller than a dreadnought guitar but larger than a travel guitar.

This type of acoustic is great for the guitarist who doesn’t want an extremely large guitar but doesn’t want to lose out on the tone.

Dreadnought

The dreadnought acoustic guitar is the most popular model of acoustic and is the one type of acoustic that has stayed consistent with every guitar brand.

This guitar is large and as a result, works great for keen strummers. If you’re an adult or teenager, this is probably the guitar for you.

However, this type of body shape is often too big for beginners and should generally be avoided if you’re purchasing for a child below the age of 12.

Reduced Size Guitars

On the guitar market, you’ll often see reduced size instruments such as 3/4 or 1/2 size guitars, these are great options for children due to their smaller size.

In addition to this, these models are relatively affordable, often coming under $100 for most guitars in this category. This is great for parents, as it means that the guitar is a low-risk item and it’s not the end of the world if they give up in a few years time.

However, if they do like playing the guitar, one thing to consider is that your child will grow out an instrument like this quite quickly, so it could cost you more money in the long run as you’ll have to buy a guitar twice.

Consider The Accessories You May Need…

Whether you’ve been playing the guitar for 1 day or 20 years, you’ll always need accessories to help your play. Here’s a list of essential items that you will need to get your beginner journey off to the best start:

  • A guitar tuner.

It doesn’t matter if you’re the greatest guitarist in the world, if you’re out of tune you will sound bad. Getting a guitar tuner is one of the most important things you will ever do as a guitarist.

  • Picks.

If you want to play the guitar properly, you will need a guitar pick. Whether you want to shred solos or strum chords, having and using a pick is vital to guitar success.

Which Acoustic Guitar Is Best For Beginners To Learn On?

The best acoustic guitars for beginners are:

  • Steel-string acoustics. 
  • Nylon-string classical guitars.

Acoustic Guitar 

If you’ve ever listened to The Beatles, Joni Mitchell or Ed Sheeran, you’ve heard the sound of an acoustic guitar. This is a fantastic choice of guitar for adults due to their large bodies, bright vibrant strings and ease of playability.

Furthermore, you don’t need an amp or any other accessories for the guitar to work, it’s simply pick up and play!

One downside of the acoustic guitar is that isn’t as exciting as an electric guitar and the gap between the strings isn’t as large as a nylon-strung guitar, so it can be tricky to play. However, it’s a great choice for any beginner guitarist.

Classical Guitar

Most beginner guitarists start with a nylon-string guitar, these are great for beginners as the strings are softer to play and there is a larger space between each one.

As well as this, they are relatively affordable and don’t need many accessories to get started.

This type of guitar is a fantastic choice of guitar for kids and young learners.

The Bottom Line…

Whatever guitar you choose, you should just go for one that inspires you to play. Learning the guitar is hard enough and having the patience and motivation can be tough.

So if you have a guitar that looks great and makes you want to start playing, go for that.

FAQ

How much should I spend on a beginner acoustic guitar?

Believe it or not, there are many fantastic acoustic guitars for beginners that are extremely well-priced. Ideally, you should spend at least $150 but no more than $500.

Which guitar should a beginner buy?

As a general rule, nylon-stung guitars are a fantastic choice for beginners who are between the ages of 6-12.

If the beginner is 12+ then a regular steel-string acoustic is a great guitar.

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